Fail

Renter 1 just kinda disappeared. We had another person look at the place in the meantime and seemed genuinely interested. So interested that he dropped off an application the same day and stated he wanted to move in ASAP. WHOOP!

And then we ran the background check.

And now we’re back to square one.

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Tornado Craziness

Holy Crow you guys.

My sis in NOLA sent us a round of texts on Tuesday evening. Tornado watches and warnings and heavy rains and whipping winds. Wow! we all exclaimed. I can’t even imagine! Be so safe! Keep us updated.

And then the storm crept it’s way up the country and I didn’t have to imagine anymore, I was right in the thick of it.

I heard talk around the office. The sky was pretty grey and there were little pockets of rain on my morning commute but nothing too severe. And then the skies totally cleared up and were bright blue by lunchtime. But the weather was still predicted to turn ugly by 3pm.

Someone else in the office threw up a red flag to my boss who sits in a different state. My boss reached out to me to try and confirm what was happening. I gave her the information I had which was essentially that the county was under tornado watch for another 9 hours. She suggested I leave and work from home. I almost didn’t. Like I say, it was pretty bright and clear. But I was texting home and not getting any response. And the predictions were still holding steady that the bulk of the storm would hit right at the evening commute and even if it wasn’t tornadoes, they were still showing sever thunderstorms. And so I took the opportunity to work the afternoon from home.

At first I felt a little silly. But I could feed Hannah and work on some busy work without office distraction. I set myself up in the guest bedroom upstairs and once again had an office window. ūüôā

But then the wind started to pick-up a little bit. And then an alert came blaring through on my phone. Tornado warning, take cover NOW!!! Of course our new house doesn’t really have a good place to hide out. All of our rooms have windows. We have one interior closet that might hold one adult and the baby, maybe. So I just opened most of the blinds and tried to keep an ear out for the sounds of trains.

And then in a super creepy turn of events, the sky turned suddenly dark. Like movie special effects dark. Like Ghostbusters dark. And buckets of rain started to fall. And sheets of rain were whipping the trees. Trees that were now shedding lots of branches into our yard. And constant rolling thunder had me totally freaking out (until I realized that the sound of trains that tornadoes are known for are actually train whistles and not the thunderous wheels on track) and lightning strikes.

And then, just like that, the birds were chirping and the sky was bright again. What the heck weather.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to soothe the baby who is getting increasingly fussy while her dad takes a shower, trying to keep up with IMs from several people trying to find a missing package, trying to respond to a colleague who has zero patience, and trying to get into my email that has been busted most of the day.

And then the second tornado warning alert came through and the sky went black again. IMs are pinging off my computer. Hannah is crying. And I hear a super loud noise outside. So while trying to keep the feeding baby as far away from the window as I can while trying to look out the window to see if impending doom is on it’s way, I noticed that the big loud noise was a big piece of tree that fell and hit the roof on it’s way down taking a chunk of something with it. It continued to drizzle most of the evening and I didn’t note any water damage, but I haven’t had the chance to thoroughly investigate.

Dude. I could do with a little less excitement in 2016.

The Weight

Let’s talk about this. Because I have been ignoring it, and it has not been working. Clearly. I will use real numbers so feel free to pass your judgement as you see fit.

My weight fluctuates. A lot. My ideal weight is 145 lbs. At that weight, I feel normal. I am not so comfortable and thin as to give up on my daily crunches and cat-cow bows, but I am not concentrating so hard on my weight that it infects every aspect of my thinking. I am happy when I hover around 145. I tend to hover around 155.¬†The thinnest I can recall being in my adult life is 135. I guess maybe technically 133, but I ate food after weighing in so I’m assuming 133 lasted all of 2 hours. I was too skinny, bony even.

In 2010, I was overweight according to the Wii. Not quite obese but definitely far from healthy. The family started our own version of the Biggest Loser where we kept track of and reported our % body fat loss to each other each week. This initiated some serious lifestyle corrections for me. And then my baby sister got engaged. And then I got engaged. Events motivating me to continue my weight loss progress. And then I got stressed out with all the planning and continued to lose weight whether I wanted to or not. In total, I lost roughly 45 pounds. I walked down the aisle November 2011 at 135 pounds.

For those of you who are bad at math, that means I started at 180 pounds. 180 is the heaviest I have ever gotten on my own. 180 pounds of comfort food and laziness. It happened so gradually that I had no idea. I just suddenly was. I saw pictures of me in what was clearly inappropriate summer attire and wanted to shrivel up and die. How could no one have told me (besides my little brother, always with the brutal honesty, thanks bud) that I looked soooooooo bad? That maybe a bikini was not the right choice. I was devastated and vowed to never let it get that bad again.

Enter pregnancy. I was 153 when I discovered I was pregnant. I gained fast in the first trimester, mostly due to poor eating habits beforehand. I didn’t balance my intake well and filled up on crappy empty calories one day and then would severely limit my caloric intake the next day. I realized this was not going to be beneficial for a developing fetus and started doing my best to eat a healthy breakfast (morning sickness)¬†each morning¬†and stick to healthier foods in smaller proportions throughout the day, reintroducing meat to my formerly vegetarian diet. Sometimes though, a tube of Ritz and cheese cubes were the only thing that kept me from barfing. Ham just about saved my life on more than one occasion. I read all the stories and heard all the anecdotes about the appropriate weight gain. The “normal” is 25 – 30 pounds over the life of the pregnancy. That said, I gained about 20 pounds in the first trimester. But my midwives were showing no concerns, all my tests were coming back just fine, and the baby was healthy with a strong heartbeat.

I continued to gain each week. I gained at the “normal” rate of 1-2 pounds a week. Some weeks I gained a little extra. The week Bella got sick, I lost a few pounds. I walked a minimum of 30 minutes everyday. All the while I was weighing in at the doctor and being congratulated for my perfect fetus. Everything was fine.

200 pounds all told. The week before I delivered in November of 2015, I weighed 200 pounds.

And then Hannah was born. I didn’t pay attention to the scale if I was even weighed at the hospital. I can’t remember. I concentrated on Hannah’s weight, getting her where she needed to be. At my six week postpartum check-up, I had lost 15 pounds weighing in at 185, the heaviest ever without a child in me.

Her birth was close to Halloween so I ate a little more candy than I should have. I let my healthy snacks slip in favor of snickers and crackers. I was excited to indulge in a glass of wine here or there every now and then which became a little more than every now and then. And then it was Christmas with the breads and cake balls and cookies and chocolate covered pretzels and brownies. I thought I was limiting myself well, but I guess not.

I have a pair of regular jeans, my engagement pants. These were the first “skinny” pants I was able to wear when I was losing weight back in 2010/2011. I was wearing them comfortably when Shelby proposed in February 2011. I tried them on one day shortly after leaving the hospital, just out of curiosity. I could get them on and zipped but they were supremely uncomfortable. I tried them again a few weeks ago and couldn’t pull them up. I cried a lot that day.

Rather than acknowledge a number, I tried concentrating on milestones. When I could fit into my yoga pants. When I could get to 100 crunches without wanting to cry. When I could wear my engagement pants to work. When I could wear my extra large husband’s extra large shirts and have them not be quite so tight. When my tights stopped rolling down my saggy belly. But none of these things made me feel good. Nothing motivated me to do anything. I just kept getting sadder and sadder, crying almost every morning staring at my closet. I’d try something on, hate myself, try something else, hate myself more, and then grab a maternity skirt and a big top. And then I stopped trying on normal stuff and just went straight for maternity clothes which never seemed to fit any looser.

Shelby finally convinced me to set a goal. He pulled out the Wii fit and weighed himself in front of me. He set his goal. He had a number to work with, to play against, to gauge his progress. It took me more than a week to get up the courage to weigh myself in private. I kept thinking about the engagement pants, how I got there before, how I used the Wii. I crossed my fingers and hoped for something in the 175 range. I had been losing, I could tell by the fit of my leggings. Please just let me have lost 10 pounds since mid-December. 10 pounds in 2 months wasn’t an unreasonable goal I thought, for a breastfeeding mom.

186.5.

I have no idea how much I gained¬†to feel like I had been making progress at 1.5 pounds heavier than my 6 week appointment. Crushed. Disgusted. Depressed. These words don’t begin to describe how I felt this past Sunday after that number popped up on the screen. I’m heavier. How could I be heavier??

But now I have a number. And a goal. And a time frame to meet that goal (thank you Cak). It took almost a year to lose it before, and I don’t expect it to be easy, but I expect it to happen. My first goal is to feel comfortable in my engagement pants before my sister’s wedding. To be able to concentrate on her and not trying to avoid photos. Not being so self conscious about my saggy belly and back boobs and muffin top and love handles and thighs that touch. Because of the shape of my Bridesmaid dress, I will continue to concentrate on toning my arms. I continue to walk, I continue to do a nightly “exercise” routine, but I am not doing enough. I hurt. My bones hurt. I need to get some weight off so I can walk normally, so I can get out of the car without grunting. So I can carry my child up the stairs to her crib without worrying about my knee or hip giving out.

My ultimate goal is to get to my ideal of 145. 40 pounds. To get back into my normal clothes. We’ll start with mimicking what I did before, cutting alcohol during the week, stepping up my random exercises throughout the day, getting back into yoga, eating the right foods and stopping when I’m full or when my plate is empty, whichever comes first. I can do this again.

186.5 February 2016. The heaviest I have ever been on my own. See me in 2017.

 

Playing With Technology

It may come as a surprise that I am pretty technologically illiterate. I have fancy things that I can only partially use. I am just starting to understand how much more I don’t know about said fancy things while trying to make my child more accessible to my family.

I don’t have Facebook. I just never jumped on that bandwagon and I’m kinda glad. For several reasons, but primarily because 1) I enjoy my privacy and 2) these things depress me. I decided that if you know me well enough, you have my contact details. If you don’t, either we don’t know each other, you chose to cut me from your life, or you are from a past too far gone for me to want to reconnect. I don’t feel a need to follow¬†“friends” from high school or camp or college. I got mega weirded out by myspace email messages from people telling me I changed their life in the 5th grade and they’ve been searching for me ever since. I got super depressed when the 1st manchild I thought I would marry posted pictures of his new girlfriend/fiancee/wife/mother of his triplets (in what seemed to pass just as quickly as it was read). The pictures of people leading a much funner life than me. The constant comparisons. A 10 year reunion 24/7 where you are constantly evaluated by what you share. Just no. (Blog irony aside.)

But I also had a kid. And people want to see my kid. And I want to show off my adorable offspring with her thunder thighs and bright blue eyes and kissable cheeks and goofy smile. So what is a girl to do?

image

I tried to build a site and did so with sorta kinda success. I found out how I could bring up the site on my portable devices and automatically upload the pictures from that device. This is super excellent news for me who only just recently figured out how to email myself pictures, save them to a computer and upload them from there. I can also share the site with friends and family so they can ogle my daughter to their hearts’ content, freeing me (in theory) from the need to text a daily picture. I can write posts there as well which will allow me to gush about my brilliant Hannah without making the entire internet gag. And miracle of miracles, I figured out how to get a video onto YouTube to get a link to upload the video onto my shared site. What the WHAT?!

But with all that comes a bit of anxiety borne of ignorance. What did I put out there? What can creepy people steal and watch and use? What have I connected and logged into? If I can get all these things to talk to each other, what else is talking to what behind my technological back? I have some ludicrous thought that some crazy person can track me through my phone’s GPS on YouTube now or something and will show up at my door dressed like me and able to literally steal my identity by taking over my life. With great technology comes great responsibility. And it all just seems too exhausting to want to learn or keep up with so I’m still all safe and secure. I am soooooooooo old fashioned. Give me a phone that’s a phone. Give me a camera that’s a camera.¬†Let me hang out in my secluded from the internet existence where I can write checks and mail letters.

Bah Humbug.

Belieber

 

I am slightly embarrassed to write this post, but it has been sitting with me for days so here it goes.

I enjoy a wide variety of music. The only real no-go for me is modern country. I have to say modern because Shelby has gotten me hooked on folks like Emmy Lou Harris and The Band which he insists is country but I maintain is somewhere between Bluegrass and Rock (depending on the track). But I am no expert and have no idea how to categorize most music beyond heard it on the rock station or heard it on the popular music station or will likely never be played on the radio because it is either Barbershop Harmony or from a musical. 

That said, ¬†I have a tendency toward the Classic Rock stations. I gravitate towards bands like Bad Company or AC/DC. I had a radio station I listened to religiously until that radio station changed. I’m not sure what the motivation was, but it went from a Classic Rock station to a “never know what you’re gonna get” station. They’ll play California Dreamin followed by California Girls. We’ll get some Ozzy Osbourne right after a song by Alanis Morissette. I have heard the Funky Cold Medina more times in the last month than in the rest of my entire life.¬†It’s very weird and sometimes hard to take in the morning. I have another Classic Rock station that I change over to, but it often has talking (OMG talking!) and lots of commercials in the morning. So¬†in flipping stations on¬†my much longer morning commute, I have found myself on the popular music station a lot lately.

This is a big lead-up just to say that weirdly, I enjoy the new Justin Bieber song “Love Yourself”. And I take it more personally than I should. Help me guys, a JB song is SPEAKING TO ME.

I think the song is cheeky. I like that it’s simple and easy to sing along with. I think it’s interesting¬†that it actually feels like a song about his life interactions (“all the clubs you get in using my name”)¬†rather than pretending he’s a regular kid. The line that’s cutting me though: My mamma don’t like you and she likes everyone. The more I hear this song, the more I realize how negative I am. If Hannah had written this song, it might go something more like; My mamma don’t like you but that’s not really a surprise. I need to work on that.

So there you have it. I like a Bieber song. Truth be told, I actually kinda like Bieber himself, the very limited knowledge I have about him anyway. I don’t do tabloids, I don’t pay attention to things like the Grammy’s or gossip shows or even genuine talk shows. I get my information solely from snippets on the radio or stories that have gotten big enough that they’ve made it into conversation. Things like the controversy over his visit to the Anne Frank museum in Amsterdam. Or the mug shot that looked shockingly similar to Miley Cyrus’ mug shot. I like the way he’s willing to make fun of himself in the new Zoolander movie. And I kinda like the fact that he’s kind of a tool but with his heart in what seems to be the right place. He’s a twenty something guy. I rest my case.

And with that, I will go hide under a rock for a few days and resurface to discuss my love of the 21 Pilots song “Stressed Out”. *SMH*

 

Trials and Triumphs

I totally destroyed my child’s thumb yesterday.

Her nails grow fast. Like freaky fast. We try to bathe her every other night, and I usually have to clip her nails after each bath. As she becomes more familiar with her arms and how to deal with them, she scratches her face less (she used to shred her face every time she cried, would not wear the mitten things, could not get her to stop) but scratches me more. I can’t find her nail clippers. It has been about a week since I trimmed her nails. My chest looks like I got in a fight with a feral cat. So I just broke down and decided to trim her nails with a regular trimmer, who needs a special baby thing anyway?

Ummmm, we do. The first nail I tried, I almost chopped off the top pad of her thumb. But I didn’t realize it at first. It had hurt her so badly and she had gotten so upset that she had that cry where she wasn’t breathing. So I didn’t hear a cry, I couldn’t see any blood, it looked like I maybe just got the top layer and everything would be fine. Shelby could see that she was crying/not breathing and was yelling at me to blow in her face. When I did, the crying kicked in very loudly, the blood started flowing, and my mommy panic alarm started going off.

I was able to stop the bleeding pretty quickly by sucking on her thumb and then pressing it up again the roof of my mouth with my tongue. (I know gross right? But I do this for myself all the time. It’s totally fine.) I can definitely tell the difference between an annoyed gassy cry and a legit pain cry. My baby is LOUD. Her tears were dripping onto my shoulder. It was traumatic. 10 minutes later however, you would have never guessed anything was wrong. She was giggling while Shelby “ate her neck” and smiling in her seat.

Things seem to be settling at home as well as can be expected. Jason died early morning Monday the 8th. Shelby called me home as soon as he had called 911, and when I realized we wouldn’t be accompanying our guest to the hospital where I could leave him¬†in the hands of a knowledgeable physician, I informed my boss I would not be coming back in to the office. We had a sprinkling of Jason’s close friends come over and spend most of the day Monday. Beth and Natalie stayed the night. Beth stayed until I got home Tuesday. They spent the time grieving, reminiscing, gathering his belongings, washing his dirty clothes. And then Beth loaded all of it into his car and drove away. There are no physical reminders of his stay plaguing Shelby. He is coping.

He is still sad. Of course he is. We read an announcement about a new Harry Potter book coming out. Shelby loves Harry Potter. We read them to each other way back when we were dating. But I didn’t realize he was introduced (or at least encouraged to geek out) by Jason. When I genuinely asked how he felt about this continuation of a story he loved, he said he felt excited, but mostly sad that Jason would never get to read it. He is gloomy, but can still find opportunities to smile and laugh. I am so glad for Hannah. She keeps him from being too enveloped in sadness. How could she not with her ludicrous smile? She needs him in a way he can’t ignore and that keeps him going. He is working. He is getting out of the house.

Hannah n Jason
Onsie Jason made for Hannah

We continue to get updates about the townhouse as well. There have been lots of showings but no applications as yet. It would seem our biggest downfall is our craptastic kitchen. I shouldn’t say craptastic, I should say standard. There aren’t many townhomes for rent in the area, but those that are available apparently have recently updated kitchens with newer appliances and fancy counter tops. We simply can’t afford to replace anything in there right now. Not until we get the dang thing rented anyway. Then we can look at all types of enhancements to both our houses. In the meantime, we lowered the rate and offered a temporary cosmetic fix to see if it would help generate applications.

Things at work are picking up for both of us. I am getting lots of positive feedback and feel like I am in a good place regarding my workload and how my boss feels I am doing. Shelby has the theatre almost completely booked for the year. His negotiated contracts seem to be consistently working in his favor so that helps keep him motivated. This “part-time” position runs him pretty ragged, so it is nice that he gets emotionally rewarded for it. There is even talk of increasing his compensation soon which would be awesome.

So we are hanging in there, our little family unit. It is frightening/awe inspiring/astounding how quickly Hannah continues to grow and how much she learns. I’ll be able to work from home some soon, so Shelby and I can have a little better distribution of parental duties and give him some time to make appointments for himself during the day. All in all, despite the rough start to the month, 2016 is looking to be a pretty good year.